CBI team to leave for UK to probe NTPC kickback case

Last Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 18:25

New Delhi: A CBI team will soon go to the
United Kingdom to get details about the bank account of an
Indian firm alleged to have received about Rs 120 crore as
kickback from a Russian company for providing "consultancy" in
bagging the Rs 8,600-crore super thermal power contract
project of NTPC in Barh in Bihar.

Official sources said the team would soon leave for
London for holding consultation with the Crown Prosecution
Service (CPS) officials and Scotland Yard sleuths to
understand the complete chain of money transactions and the
associates of the firm M/S Ravina Associates Pvt Ltd.

The account of the firm is in NATWEST bank, which was
frozen by the CPS after the CBI requested for the same. It
belongs to the firm which was providing "consultancy" service
to the Russian company - Technopromexport - which bagged the
contract in the 1,980 MW (660MWx3) Barh power project in
February 2005.

The Indian company had approached a CBI court here to
seek lifting of restraint order on the bank account so that it
could pay the demand of Rs 44.31 crore raised by the Income
Tax department on the firm.

However, the plea was turned down by the court which
also imposed Rs 20,000 on the firm for "having wasted its time
in an attempt to bring back prima facie illegitimate money,
which belonged to the tax payers and had found its way to the
account."

CBI, which registered a case against unknown officials
of NTPC and others in February 2006, had alleged that during
2002-05 the NTPC had entered into three contracts with TPE
Russia and transferred USD 53.63 lakh to it as advance money.

Out of this, the Russian firm is alleged to have
transferred USD 10.37 lakh and USD 10.37 lakh to M/s Ravina
Associates Pvt Ltd at Natwest Bank on May five and May 18,
2005 respectively.

The CBI alleged that the money was paid by TPE Russia to
the Indian firm as commission equaling a percentage of the
contract.

NTPC had given the contract to TPE in 2005, when the PSU
was headed by C P Jain, for supplying equipment to a power
project in Bihar.

The three-year-old CBI investigations into the alleged
irregularities in awarding of the contract is yet to be
completed as the agency is still awaiting information from the
UK and Latvia.

"The CBI has issued Letters Rogatory (LRs) through the
competent courts for investigation and information to the UK
and Latvia. Since the complete information has not been
received from abroad, the investigation is yet to be
completed," CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal had said earlier.

The government was also giving a serious thought to
cancel the contract to TPE as the project was running behind
the schedule with the Russian firm asking a higher price for
equipment due to increase in raw material costs.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 18:25

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